Mothers’ Union

Mothers’ Union

Mother’s Union is a Christian charity with over three million members worldwide. The headquarters of the Mother’s Union is at Mary Sumner House in London – named after the founder.

We hope to resume when restrictions are lifted ,  but our first full meeting which will  be on July 21st will actually be in church in  the afternoon  (not the evening)  when we will be having a combined short service, AGM and refreshments afterwards with an opportunity for everyone to chat and catch up with each other after such a long time. Evening meetings proper are then scheduled from September for 3rd Wednesdays in the hall as before ( no evening meeting in August)Wednesday mornings will resume as restrictions change.

St. Margaret’s branch meets in Church on the first Wednesday each month at 9.30am for a service of Holy Communion followed by coffee.  There are evening meetings on the third Wednesday of the month at 7.45pm in the Millennium Centre, usually with a speaker.  There are also other events during the year.

Branch Contact:  Hilary Noakes c/o Parish Office –

The Mothers’ Union Prayer

Loving Lord

We thank you for your love so freely given to us all.

We pray for families around the world.

Bless the work of the Mothers’ Union

as we seek to share your love through the encouragement,

strengthening and support of marriage and family life.

Empowered by your Spirit,

May we be united in prayer and worship,

And in love and service reach out as your hands across the world.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen

St. Margaret’s Church, Rainham, Mothers Union Banner.

In May 1987 a group was formed to make new altar hangings to replace those destroyed by vandals. The existing Mother’s Union Banner depicting a severed dragon’s head with the sword of St. Margaret in its mouth was also the worse for wear. The Friends of St. Margaret’s had raised the money to pay for the making of the new altar hangings and when the hangings were finished the leftover materials were purchased from the Friends, by the M.U. for £20.00 These included three strips of dark blue velvet, a large piece of white pigskin, assorted gold threads, assorted velvet and sateen scraps and offcuts of calico.

The approach to our parish church is screened by five mature horse chestnut trees planted during the latter part of the 19th century by an owner of the White Horse Pub opposite. Flowers and fruits mentioned in the Bible had been the theme of the green altar hanging so the idea of horse chestnut leaves on the M.U. banner was born.

Once the design was approved, the main fabric had to be purchased, namely cream linen, assorted tapestry wools, perlecottons and stranded embroidery threads with tough blue cotton fabric for backing, the total cost was £35.35p.

The shapes used were taken from photographs, sketches and observation. The main shapes were worked on small frames on calico backing then cut out and appliqued onto the cream linen on the big frame.

Church.  23cm high x 23cm wide cut from course cotton fabric with a lighter grey fleck in the weave which resembled old stonework, details worked in cretan, couching, satin and cross stitch. The baseline of finished piece was set slightly below centre of cream linen.

Branches and leaves. Clockwise 1-3 Spring bursting sticky buds pale green baby leaves unfurling and gingery shiny scales.

Between 3-6 are summer mature leaves in velvet, Dralon and sateen furnishing scraps, getting larger as they near 6 o’clock, the largest being 14cm across. Linking this group with spring above is a 15cm high spike of blossom embroidered in stranded thread directly onto the cream linen.

Between 6-9 is one enormous and three smaller autumn leaves in dry looking furnishing fabric scraps with couching in textured threads to give crumpled dying feel in golds and browns and two lovely shiny green leather conkers!. 9-12 o’clock is dark brown bare branches,satin stitch over several thicknesses of string sewn on first, each ending in a fat dark bud. Behind these is a tracery of upward sweeping branches of couched fine thread to give perspective.

These branches and leaves frame and overlap the building.

The sky/background. The idea was to texture the background but we were not sure how.  Our churchyard is bounded on two sides by an old flint wall repaired over the centuries with small red brick, old and mellow with wild flowers and ivy growing out of it, so a section of this wall at base of church is shown by couching knobbly knitting yarn in suitable colour and texture. Little clumps of V shaped straight stitches represent plants onto the linen. Inspiration came to fill behind the big leaves with this V inverted so it mimics hanging down mature leaves becoming creamy behind autumn leaves.

Behind the winter branches are horizontal stitches in palest grey and mauve leaving a lot of cream linen showing but it changed the whole aspect giving the effect wanted. Cobalt blue seeding behind the spring buds gave an April sky.

The cream linen panel is 54cm deep by 62.5cm wide.

Above is 10cm deep border of dark blue velvet, trimmings from altar curtains and lower border is 18cm deep. This has a background pattern worked in single gold thread running stitches of the four petal design carved on a 14th century chest in the Lady chapel. The lettering is in Byzantine style and cut from white pigskin stitched on using glove stitch and outlined with fine gold thread.

Hanging loops were made from remaining scraps of blue velvet and the whole item backed with strong blue cotton fabric

The completed banner measures 81cms (32 inches) deep by 62.Scms wide. We had to buy a new gold coloured tasselled cord but used original pole.

It was dedicated at our Saints day barbecue in the vicarage garden 27th July 1988.

With thanks to Mrs. Diana Byott for the information above.

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